Long range shooting is one of those intersections of science, skill, and art. It’s hard enough on a flat range, but when done in high winds and from different positions, the difficulty level ramps up. A lot of the skills used in long range shooting can be honed with decent gear and enough practice, but there is nothing like a solid foundation to build upon. That is where training like that offered by RangeTech comes in. Recently, I had the opportunity to experience a one on one long range training course with Mike from RangeTech. I picked up some great skills and techniques and learned how to best utilize my gear on another level.
Long Range Shooting @ TFB:
Who/what is RangeTech, you might be asking? RangeTech consists of a small instructor cadre that combines military and law enforcement experience in both short and long range shooting, and provides detailed instruction to smaller class sizes.
Cumorah Group LLC and Rangetech are a combination of like minded individuals with extensive Law Enforcement and Military backgrounds. We all have extensive instructor experience as well and feel that beyond most we are able to deliver results that few other companies can. We want to share with you what we know and help you achieve your goals whether they are hunting, keeping your family safe, or providing your officers with better training in managing the public safely. —The one thing we don’t have is attitude.
Now offering Much more than just long range shooting.
We now offer a full spectrum of trainingfor everyone.
This training goes far beyond firearms into the many peripheral skills necessary to make you a welcome prepared individual, officer, student, housewife, etc, etc..
Police Department/People Skills
We now offer through Cumorah Group LLC training for police department personal who wish to learn de-escalation and people management skills for dealing with the public on a day-to-day basis or during a crisis such as riots. Our main instructors in this field have extensive experience and have been involved in managing situations like the last riot in Vancouver, British Columbia for example.
But what about the shooting? We still teach long range shooting but now we offer all ranges shooting from 2 yards to 2000 yards.
Shooting in any discipline is an amazing pursuit with the proper education; and a frustrating one without. Our aim as instructors is to save you the frustration while providing a highly enjoyable experience chock full of learning. For example we are able to condense civilian appropriate sniper course skills learned over three weeks into a couple of days to suit the modern long range hunter. This no easy feat but ours students obviously feel we do a good job as many return to our Advanced courses and ask for more once those are done.
Why you should take a course with us:We take a very personal, no attitude approach to teaching you. With a mixture of new technology, proven techniques, and innovation we offer what other schools don’t. We keep classes small, personal, and simplifiedeven with difficult subject matter. Our long range Classes are limited to a 4 to 1 student to instructor ratio for our beginner courses and a 2 to 1 student to instructor ratio for Advanced Courses.
NOTE: Our pistol and long range courses have a maximum of 18 students per course with two to three instructors.
How we teach:Our class materials are delivered to the student in a manner that skills are built on skills and fundamentals re-instilled in each student, so that by the time each day is done you have had ample experience to cement those skills repeatedly. Our format is designed to be as simple as possible even if the knowledge from which it is derived is complicated.
Full Disclosure: RangeTech offered to put on this course free of charge, but we were under no obligation to provide a positive review.
A Perfect Setting
The mountains and high desert east of Arco, Idaho, are the original testing grounds of CheyTac. Way back in the beginning of CheyTac, I was hearing of their long-range feats performed in this area. The sight lines are miles long, and the winds and terrain are challenging. It was a perfect setting to meet up for some long range shooting with Mike from RangeTech. I made sure to bring the basic equipment necessary for the “Mountain” course, which is posted below as per RangeTech.
Rifle Capable of Sub MOA accuracy (I brought my Surgeon Scalpel in 6.5 Creedmoor)
High Quality rifle scope with MOA or MIL markings and external elevation and windage adjustments
(Either 1⁄4 MOA or .1 or .2 Mil adjustments) 14 power or higher is preferable. (I brought a Swarovski X5)
60-100 rounds of match grade ammo (per day) (Hornady American Gunner 140gr BTHP for me)
(We highly recommend double hearing protection with foamies and electronic ear muffs.)
Scope Level (This is a must have.) There are cheap options on Amazon.com and we can help you install if
need be. Please insure you bring the correct size for the scope tube or get a level that attaches to the
scope base. (I used a Flatline Ops)
Laser range finder (Optional) capable of 1500 meters (or 3000 meters for the advanced course)
Spotting Scope and tripod (Optional)
Bipod with tilt/level feature
Ballistic Solver (Optional) Kestrel Elite 5700 with applied ballistics
Shooting Mat -Waterproof with some padding.
Note: (If you’re bringing a 338LM or 50BMG we highly recommend that you bring a large swatch of
carpet to keep debris disturbance to a minimum.)
Rear Bags 2-3
We began on a somewhat flat range with targets set from 600-1075 yards, just to go over some basics and make sure all my equipment was jiving together. Mike layed out how he likes to get behind the gun for a stable position that allows the shooter to see their own impacts and get repeat hits quickly on target when winds are varying in speed.
Though I’m no novice to getting behind a gun, I always like to hear the perspective of experience shooters, and I can usually pick up a good pointer or two to integrate into my approach. One tip that stuck in my mind is to align the buttstock with the inside of my right knee when prone. This allowed me to get into a “natural point of aim” position all the faster.
The winds picking up out of the high desert and off of the mountains brought us into the next phase of the training, and where I started to absorb a lot of new and critical knowledge: Cyclic wind behavior and how to get the most out of the Kestrel 5700 with Applied Ballistics.
I have been using a Kestrel for 15 years in long range shooting, but only recently acquired the 5700 with Applied Ballistics software. Mike is an absolute gold mine of information when it comes to the calibration and utilization of the Kestrel 5700, along with the Kestrel LiNK Ballistic app. The knowledge I gained in this area was extremely helpful and enabled me to make the next jump in my first round accuracy in variable high winds.
Mike instructed me on how to accurately calibrate the Kestrel, how to navigate some of its idiosyncrasies, and how to meld the wind speed, angle of the firearm to the wind direction, angle to the target, and the specific ballistics of my setup. All of these data points came together in a quick and shooter-friendly way to enable me to get rapid, repeatable hits on target, with accurate first-round hits in winds up to 20 mph out to 1047 yards.
We also went over maximum ordnance, or the maximum height your bullet will achieve on its flight path to the target, and where it will occur. This is especially important when shooting at longer ranges that might have obstacles that obstruct the flight path of your bullet. For example, at 1047 yards, my max. ord. was 9.16 feet!
Moving up to the Mountains
After covering the basics down in the desert, it was time to ascend the mountains and shoot in even higher winds and more varied angles. Past an abandoned cattle ranch and up a winding, crumbling jeep trail, we set up on a ridge and got to the business of shooting standing from a tripod in high winds. The winds at this point were gusting 20-30mph, making it essential to have your fundamentals figured out.
Mike demonstrated a variety of techniques on how to lock into a tripod quickly and securely from the standing position. Using these techniques helped me stay more stable, even when the winds were pushing on both me and the gun. The tripod used was from Shadow Systems, along with one of their custom ball heads and their Hog Saddle.
First shots were out to 600 yards with 1/2 value wind. After getting used to the shooting position and integration of all that I had learned so far, we moved out to the truly long range (for 6.5 Creedmoor) targets from 1400-1650 yards, or more than 9/10 of a mile. Winds at this point were near full value, up to 35mph! Still, Mike’s excellent instruction and spotting yielded hits at this extreme range in extreme wind.
Next were seated positions using a tripod, at similar ranges but 180 degrees opposite. Mike had some excellent techniques for getting into a comfortable and stable position behind the gun, which would be of excellent use for someone who brought a tripod hunting and wanted to set up for a longer term stable shooting position.
Mike’s wealth of knowledge was of great utility to me in attending RangeTech’s Long Range Training course. What sealed the deal for me as far as recommending the course for others to attend, however, was Mike’s demeanor as an instructor. He was efficient and clear with all of his instructions. He conveyed the information in an easy to grasp way while retaining positivity and a calm and conversational demeanor.
There was no imperious, drill instructor, or negative attitude, they are true to their core value of “Training without Attitude”. I highly recommend one of RangeTech’s training courses for those who wish to take their rifle skills to the next level or into the next zip code. Though coming into the course as an experienced shooter, I came away with more than a few new skills and a lot of knowledge on how to best utilize my equipment.
For more information, or to sign up for one of their courses, please visit RangeTech’s website.
Thanks to Mike and RangeTech for the opportunity and knowledge!
RangeTech Long Range Training Review -The Firearm Blog is written by Rusty S. for www.thefirearmblog.com